Two researchers advocate sending a quick mission to Venus to try and quell debate over whether our sister planet’s middle atmosphere does in fact harbor some sort of microbial life. To their credit, instead of standing around grinding their teeth over the issue, Andreas Hein and Manasvi Lingam, have already set forth a new balloon mission proposal specifically geared toward confirming the detection of phosphine (PH3) in Venus’ atmosphere. If funded, they say their mission could launch by 2022.
Their proposal, which is being submitted to The Astrophysical Journal Letters, comes on the heels of this month’s earlier controversy over the tentative detection of phosphine in Venus’ atmosphere. Under certain circumstances, phosphine, a flammable, toxic gas that can signal the presence of biology.
These balloon-based probes would be slowed down by a parachute,